Mariners at Red Sox Preview: Mariners look to recover in road trip finale

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 15: Ty France #23 of the Seattle Mariners bats during the game against the Boston Red Sox at T-Mobile Park on September 15, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. The Red Sox defeated the Mariners 9-4. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 15: Ty France #23 of the Seattle Mariners bats during the game against the Boston Red Sox at T-Mobile Park on September 15, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. The Red Sox defeated the Mariners 9-4. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Mariners are finishing up their road trip with a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox. They played well in Queens, taking care of the Mets by winning the series two games to one. Things were a lot different in Toronto, as they ended up losing the series, but winning the final game. Now, they’ve got a chance to really turn it around against the Red Sox in Boston.

Neither team has played as well as they would hope this far into the season. The Mariners are 17-21 while the Sox are 15-22. Both teams were hopeful of strong early starts to the season, with expectations of making a run at the playoffs. Neither of those has worked out so far. With a four-game set coming up, a series win could do wonders for either team.

Mariners at Red Sox: Pitching Matchups

Thursday, May 19th @ 04:10 PM PT – George Kirby vs Rich Hill

Friday, May 20th @ 04:10 PM PT – Robbie Ray vs Rich Garces

Saturday, May 21st @ 01:10 PM PT – Chris Flexen vs Garrett Whitlock

Sunday, May 22nd @ 10:35 AM PT – Logan Gilbert vs Nathan Eovaldi

No, the Mariners aren’t going to have to hit against Rich Garces on Friday. The Sox don’t have a pitcher listed for that game yet, so I put him in there cause it’s funny and I loved watching El Guapo.

In reality, they are starting off against Rich Hill, who has one of the greatest nicknames in all of baseball. He’s also old enough to be George Kirby’s dad… seriously. Hill turned 42 in March, and Kirby turned 24 in February. Hill is actually having a good season, which shouldn’t be a surprise based on how well he’s pitching over his career, but more from the fact that he debuted in 2005, and has been around a LONG time. Again, Kirby was in second grade when Hill debuted. It’ll be fun to watch, as Kirby overwhelms and Hill befuddles.

We know that Robbie Ray and Gilbert can dominate, but it’s Chris Flexen that I want to watch. Go ahead and take a guess at how many runs the Mariners have scored for Flexen during his starts this year. Now lower it. Now lower it some more. Okay, you might be there now. The number is a ridiculously low number of just 7 runs in seven starts. It’s even worse when you realize they scored 4 runs in one of those games. The Mariners have been shutout in more games than they haven’t with Flexen on the mound, posting four games without a run for him.

Flexen has actually been good this year outside of the bad Phillies game. He’s given up just 13 runs in 34.1 IP, for an ERA of 3.41. Another shutout could happen though, as Whitlock has just a 2.43 ERA, a 0.944 WHIP, and 11.2 K/9. May has actually been “worse” for him, as he had an ERA of 0.54 in April while sporting an ERA of 4.85 in May. He never goes long but has been lengthening out in May, with pitch counts of 78, 82, and 80.

Mariners at Red Sox: Hitters to Watch

Mariners: Julio (Duh!), JP Crawford, Steven Souza and Dylan Moore, Jesse Winker

Crawford is only hitting .216 this month, having struggled since they moved him up in the lineup. Winker has been picking up the slack for Crawford though, hitting .290/.323/.468 this month. We need three to four hitters at once to be doing well. Julio is crushing it this month, hitting .339/.381/.492 this month, with the best slash line on the team.

If Crawford can pick it back up, that’ll be a massive help. What they need more though, is to figure out who can actually play outfield while Haniger is out. One of Moore or Souza needs to step it up and provide reasonable offensive output, otherwise, the team is going to need to try and acquire someone… unless Lewis is actually that close to being ready.

Red Sox: Rafael Devers and JD Martinez, Trevor Story and Alex Verdugo

These guys are grouped into two categories. Martinez and Devers have been crushing it this month, hitting a respective .397 and .383, each with four HR and 11 RBI. On the other hand, Story and Verdugo have been struggling, hitting just .192 and .170 this month. If the Mariners can keep them struggling, and manage to get through Devers and Martinez without too much trouble, then they should have a good chance at winning the series.

Mariners at Red Sox: Final Thoughts

The Mariners got a great win in the series finale against the Blue Jays, and have done a good job at holding other teams to minimal runs over the last week. Outside of giving up 7 to the Mets in a 8-7 Mariners win, they have given up an average of 3.2 runs a game. The Mariners just need to find a way to get on the board more often. They’ve shown signs of life lately, with more hitters turning in productive at-bats.

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If the Mariners can hit against the Sox, a 3-1 series win is totally plausible. However, if they can only put up 3.0 runs a game, it’s going to be rough. Watch for the Mariners, and their bats, to make an impact in this series.